Behind the Wheel With...

Cameron van der Burgh

Cameron van der Burgh wins Gold for SA

When I’m not in the pool training, my favourite place to be is…

Simply at home with family and friends - when you travel so much you don’t get that quality time. I believe the most important thing in life is relationships, so whenever I get the chance to nurture mine I take it.

After clinching the first gold medal for South Africa at the London Olympics, my next challenge is to…

"Sport has got such a unifying ability and that’s why it plays such an important role in this country."

Remain consistent. It’s so easy to get ahead of yourself when you find yourself at the top. I want to keep training hard, stay injury free, be in top form for when the next season starts and bring back more Golds for South Africa!

A seriously good sportsman will never travel without…

His own equipment – it’s such a personal thing. I go so far as always packing my racing costumes, goggles and cap into my hand luggage, just in case my main bag gets lost or tampered with.

The best outdoor swimming spot that nature has to offer is…

I love to surf so an opportunity to go down to JBay is a real treat. It definitely rates amongst the best surf spots, offering some of the best waves in the world.

My childhood holidays were spent…

In Durban, it was the closest coastline to Pretoria so we’d join all the other Vaalies in Umhlanga for a family beach holiday. Also, many happy memories were made on my uncle’s protea farm, close to Port Elizabeth. The kids were just left to run around, enjoying the outdoors and getting up to mischief. It was fun.  

My favourite local holiday destination is…

Cape Town. I think it’s among the most beautiful cities in the world. You also don’t have to spend a lot of money to enjoy it. You’ve got the beach, the sea, the mountain, you can hike, cycle, swim or just relax. The city also buzzes with so many different eateries – your choices are so varied. I never get bored there, and the people are cool.

I discovered a hidden gem at…

Wilderness. A mate of mine has a house there with a view that overlooks Wilderness. There’s no better feeling than enjoying sunrise or sunset with a beer and a mountain view. You really feel at one with nature there - it’s so untouched, not commercialized at all. It’s great!

I found adventure in…

The Karoo. My dad grew up in the Karoo and became a farmer there, so he took me back to his roots. We did lots of boys stuff, like shooting and hunting – it was a great experience to relive my Dad’s childhood memories with him.

My worst holiday experience was…

In Shanghai, I’m really not a big fan of China, I like Asia but in China the people are rude and there’s no concept of personal space. I believe that people make the place and for that reason Shanghai is not my favourite.

My intense training programme always takes priority and often gets in the way of…

Family holidays - sometimes its cut short but quite often I miss out altogether. My job is not a normal job, I have funny working hours and so when everyone’s on holiday, I’m not. I never even had a matric vacation because I was training for the world championships.

Opportunities that have opened up after my gold medal win are…

I get to travel and enjoy now, instead of just travelling for work all the time. I’ve been doing really lovely things recently like playing golf in George and bringing my girlfriend along to enjoy the break. I’ve also met so many great people and different sportsmen. I was asked to hand out springbok jerseys to the team recently, so I meet all of them. It’s like I’m getting to enjoy the perks of the job now (laughs).

 A tourist to South Africa MUST not leave without seeing/visiting….

Cape Town – for the same reasons that it’s my favourite holiday destination.

In my opinion, South Africans are most passionate about…

Sport – we’re a sport crazy nation. We have such a winning culture too and love to celebrate a win. I personally follow rugby and football and am passionate about both. Sport has got such a unifying ability and that’s why it plays such an important role in this country.